It was unthinkable, back when
my without-resumé or bona fide
job was Dad: our father,
leader, wizard, fixer of all
things and people broken,
savior of my tribe; shaman,
vet, and driver out of all demons.
Despite my foibles,
hidden as many were—
we managed to cope.
Burdened with adversity and misguided history
we owned our piece of the world,
we held the keys that controlled the universe,
wherein I was (am?) suddenly
no longer the center to which they would turn.
Call it what is, that’s life, dismissing
whenever shit happens, when I’m forced
to admit I don’t know why. To say
I was wrong about so much.
I think and think again about it all,
the ultimatum. It wasn’t you. It’s me.
Look both ways when seeking the mysterious purpose of life,
or finding of the true self, or taking on the vocation mantle of service.
Mind the gaps for the distractions of relief are dear.
Yesterday, Fictioneers Mistress Rochelle dealt us an urban photo by Ted Strutz from which we were prompted to contrive, via inspiration, a micro-fiction story. May my tardiness be forgiven. Three more NaPoWriMo poems and my life returns to whatever my normal may be.
Genre: urban fiction
Title: Tony Loves Rosie
Word count: 100
The slow walking old man stopped. He remembered this corner with ambivalence, but that day with dread.
The ironic sign was near where he’d shot and killed Ted Coffey during the gang rumble. Hearing the Third Avenue elevated pass brought a tear. The bike lay were he almost bled to death. Behind him the spot where Rosie died. Then, her loud voice.
“Tony fucking Del Toro. Is that you? Remember me? It’s Rosie Reyes. I heard you died in Viet Nam. Marines, right? Hey, let’s get a cup a joe and talk old times. Good memories.”
Seeing her changed everything.
Look both ways, even on one-way streets.
Mind the gaps hidden in the crevasses of your mind.
Today, I was to write a duplex poem, a variation on the 14-line sonnet form (also echoes ghazal and blues) developed by Jericho Brown. While I did not make the last line the same as the first, I think it still fits the form near enough.
Look Both Ways
In my seventh decade I can sense
How the shortened horizon stimulates me.
As near horizons power my desire
I feel impatient and curious.
Curious about much, impatient to learn
As my memory seeks its own beginning.
Like flashing movie trailers of memory
I feel a revival of haste when I see
Time is not long, and my need is urgent.
Reality has broken though my dreams
And my dreams bow to stark reality.
From this end I see better my beginning,
My story told from beginning till now.
My seventh decade has finally arrived.
Look both ways regardless of how near or far the horizon is.
Mind the gaps because memory is tricky business.
Today, my NaPoWriMo assignment is based upon an Irish poetic genre called aisling. An aisling recounts a dream or vision featuring a woman who represents the land or country (typically Ireland) on/in which the poet lives, and who speaks to the poet about it. I had the option to write a poem that recounts a vision of a woman who represents or reflects where I live: Texas.
la dama de texas
I looked, but bright sunlight and a vast blue sky
tempered my curious gaze over her vast wonderment.
She was like a kaleidoscope of diversity,
capricious changes over her sensuous body
constantly looming; inviting, yet hostile.
Her hair was a big thicket of trees:
pecan, oak, palm, cedar, and holly;
her brows were of pine, and elm above
lashes of ash and cherry, anaqua and yaupon.
Her brown skin and dark eyes testify
to her Mexican heritage, her breath was of
sweet orchid, redbud, and magnolia. Temptress,
with a capital T.
Her breasts were like mountain ranges:
Chisos, Guadalupe, Franklin, and Davis;
at her sides and hips Chinati, Boquillas,
Hueco, Christmas, and the lower Palo Pintos.
In her swaying curves the hidden canyons:
Palo Duro, Santo Elena, and Mariscal with
the jewels of caprocks, pinnacles, and hoodoos.
At her back, the Llano Estacado horizon rolled
smoothly into her Balcones Escarpment to
plateaus named for Edwards and Stockdon.
The moist whites of her eyes shown like cotton bolls,
lids like sandy beaches, her fingers like rivers:
the Pedernales, Neches, Trinity, Comal,
Brazos and the majestic and mysterious Rio Grande.
Her arms were like Devils River and the Pecos.
Her desert skin shimmered like moist sand.
I saw her holding an abundance of animals
and insects that staggered me.
The diversity of people standing in her shadow,
waving their ubiquitous flags, while protected by her,
spoke languages mixed with southern or western dialects.
Beneath her beauty, a sweetened but exaggerated history
belied the truth of a dark, slavishly embarrassing past.
An enigma with something for everyone
yet comfort for only a friendly few.
I’ll take Texas over Hell
with my eyes wide open.
She said I may stay,
but only if I see things her way. I try.
Look both ways to see the good and the bad.
Mind the gaps and accept the facts.
Everyone must be somewhere, even if they’re going nowhere.
Today’s NaPoWriMo.net four-part prompt was borrowed from poet Betsy Sholl. This assignment tasked me to write a poem within which I recall,
someone I was close to, but I am no longer,
a job I no longer do, and
art that I saw once and that stuck with me.
I was to close the poem with an unanswerable question.
Side by side in many ways
our lives were intwined by profession,
friendship, and meaning. Only now,
looking back do I see that when
you went right, I vectored left,
fast friends now virtual strangers.
Maybe I no longer do those things,
I don’t walk or talk the same,
my goals and purposes are past,
yet my butt is a branded identity.
From that long ago past, my dreams
are still me then, me when I was
part of a thing bigger than myself.
I saw the cowboy of a distant genre
who rode one horse of divergent
color, who ranged and wrangled west.
I’m unlike him; no horse or saddle
sits beneath me. I’m just a deliberate, defiant,
dying breed with a protective attitude.
He sits, and stares. I wonder where.
Why the tie? Is the past part of me?
Am I still part of the past?
How do those people and things
have me in what they are today?
Does any of it matter?
Look both ways, but juxtapose the past with the present,
especially if both are greater than the future.
Mind the gaps because memory is notoriously unreliable.
At the two-thirds complete NaPoWriMo Wednesday, my assignment, should I choose to accept it, was to humanize (anthropomorphize) a food.
Ask any front-line (combat) Army or Marine Corps Viet Nam War veteran about C-rations, especially about this one.
It is not an acquired taste
c-rats (thankfully) are nevermore.
But he who must not be named, you-know-who—of Hogwarts,
the Dark Lord of chow, bitter
Lord Voldemort of field rations
universally despised for bad taste.
In the boonies, in another world:
The Nam! What was in that can?
Bad luck shall befall if you say it— Ham and Lima Beans, say it
like a soldier: ham and motherfuckers
hated by virtually everyone,
thrown back like VC returning fire
by starving children: numba ten, GI!
International agreement at last.
The most disgusting (real) food ever.
(You gunna eat that?)
Look both ways and tell it like it was.
Mind the gaps when everything sucks.
Today’s assignment was to be another fun one. It was a prompt developed by the comic artist Lynda Barry, (see the full tweet prompt here). For NaPoWriMo, it asked me to consider dogs that I’ve known, seen, or heard of. Then I was to use those thoughts as a springboard for a poem.
Must it be one or the other?
Either I prefer cats to dogs, or vice-versa.
Like I must take sides in some
canine versus feline conflict.
Must I own one to prove some
Is it wrong to treat an animal as a loved pet,
or to suggest an aggressive breed as not the best?
Synonyms for pets include loved, not family,
not as human, and now here comes the guilt trip.
Others see pets like children. Fine for them. To be right,
must I see the world through their eyes?
I’ve had a few pets, loved most, regretted few.
Most memories are good when all was well.
But all my pets, like many
of my family and friends are gone.
Unlike the Billy Collins humorous poem, The Revenant, most dogs seem willing to
let me be, the cats I’m still uncertain about.
And they like it that way.
Look both ways respecting nature’s fauna.
Mind the gap between the lion and the lamb.
Once again, the lovely Rochelle, Maven of artistic fact and fiction, and Dale, ingenious photographer to the ethereal and adroit crafter of masterful tales, have conspired to extract mid-April narratives from the noggins and minds of Friday Fictioneer followers.
My song-related reportage maxed out at the 100-word limit and follows Dale’s visual. Click on the chair to write your story if you dare.
Genre: Senior Gonzo Fiction
Title: Concealed Carry
Word Count: 100
We limped in. Kris needed his cane. The music sucked, but our old table was available. We sat and waited.
A young man approached.
He said, “You need to leave. We don’t want your kind in here. Now get out.”
I glared at him for a minute. “Two waters, coffee with cream, and menus, please.” His anger was visible as he moved closer. Kris placed his pistol on the table.
“Listen motherfucker, I’m Bobby McGee. We’ve nothing left to lose. You do. Repeat the order, fetch it with a smile or say ‘goodbye.’ We ain’t leaving alive. We’ll await Janis.”
Look both ways but remember the seventies if you can.
Mind the gaps for Glocks and dead grumpy waiters.
Give a Glock Click HERE to find more great stories. And for your happy entertainment, four of the finest good ol’ boys.
Today I opened the napowrimo.net prompt page and read about poetry online journals (something Maureen is doing this year), the two poems from yesterday’s prompt she selected to highlight, and the day twelve prompt, which said to write a poem about something small.
I Wear the Ring
Aunt Lorry (we called Delores, Mom’s sister, that) loved me
more than I realized. When I was very young,
she’d send envelopes addressed to me,
from Washington D.C. with Dennis the Menace
cartoons cut from her newspaper.
I didn’t see the connection then. But I do now. It was the only mail
I received from an adult when not my birthday or Christmas.
When I graduated from Texas A&M University Lorry insisted
on paying for my class ring. Aggie rings are a big deal
to alumni (called former students). I still wear the ring—
more than fifty years later. I remember Lorry every time.
She never married, was old fashioned, traditional, and a staunch
Catholic. She wasn’t difficult (usually) but criticized
what she thought was wrongdoing.
Yet she was hopeful to the edge of naiveite.
Had she been any different, I suppose I’d still have my ring,
but I would not have had a famous cartoon character
as my childhood alter ego.
Lorry died about ten years after I graduated and whenever
I wear the ring I’m reminded of her.
I will be until the day I die. Such a small thing but a big
reminder of my old maid aunt, my childhood, love, and
how ironic it is when things turn out differently than expected.
Look both ways and remember familial days.
Mind gaps that may bring surprising results.